The Bentley Boys and Bentley Girls were a group of thrill-seeking young men and women who lived the high life on and off the track. Their passion for racing won Bentley five Le Mans titles over seven years. That spirit was crucial to the development of the original Blower.
Sir Tim Birkin, a Bentley Boy and former fighter pilot, was among the first to experiment with superchargers. He worked with British engineer Amherst Villiers to develop a supercharger that would sit on the front of the Bentley 4½ Litre’s engine – increasing the power and speed of the car. However, W.O. Bentley was reluctant to pursue the idea, so much so that he refused company assistance for Birkin’s project.
Not one to give up easily, Birkin forged ahead and set up his own workshop with help from wealthy racehorse owner and Bentley Girl Dorothy Paget. Villiers was able to rework his design, and the results were staggering, increasing the power output from 130 bhp to 175 bhp. Woolf Barnato, Bentley’s Chairman, was so impressed he decided that the No. 9 Blower should race under the Bentley name. He was proven right when Tim Birkin set a new lap record at Le Mans in 1930. It’s this legendary spirit and unwavering pursuit of greatness that has inspired today’s Continental GT Number 9.